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Now that harvest is complete for most producers in the region, they have continued to do post-harvest field work as weather conditions allow. Producers in the region hope for several large fall rains and a big dump of snow in the winter to help combat the effects of the drought.
Crop yields varied within the region, but most crops were slightly below average. There was some yield loss caused by hail, premature ripening, strong winds heat blasting and drought. Overall, crop quality was good in the region due to limited fall moisture during harvest; there was some minor downgrading due to bleaching or staining in some wheat crops. The majority of crops are falling within the top two grades due to limited fall moisture during harvest and limited disease issues.
For most of the season, the northwest region starts the spring with adequate or surplus amounts of moisture depending on the amount of rainfall received throughout the year. The northwest region did not see average rainfall and many parts of the region had become very dry before seeding had even concluded. Within the latter part of the season moisture conditions have declined due to limited rainfall and much of the region is reporting as short or very short for topsoil moisture. Heading into winter, cropland topsoil moisture is rated as six per cent adequate, 47 per cent short and 47 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as four per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 57 per cent very short.
Average hay yields on dry land are reported (in tons per acre) as: alfalfa 0.93; alfalfa/brome 0.73; other tame hay 0.48; wild hay 0.84; and greenfeed 0.94. At this time, most livestock producers have indicated that they will have inadequate to adequate supplies of hay, straw, greenfeed and feed grain heading into winter. Many annual crops were cut and baled for greenfeed and many producers took advantage of the allowance to cut and bale ditches.
Crop reporters have indicated that the number of acres seeded to winter wheat and fall rye is estimated to have declined to below average for the region.
Producers are busy harrowing, applying fertilizer, hauling bales, fixing fences and moving cattle home.